Nola Lost 50 Pounds with a Positive Attitude and a Smile

By , SparkPeople Blogger
"My first piece of advice is to smile more. You will feel better about yourself because a smile helps keep you positive."

Working on a farm, Nola (NOLAHORSERIDER) was used to days filled with chores like unloading hay, cutting tree limbs and fixing fences. As she gained weight, those chores became increasingly difficult. She recalls using rash cream where her skin would rub just so that she could mow the pastures. These difficulties, combined with inspiration from her sister who lost weight, gave Nola the push she needed to begin her weight-loss journey.

Nola joined SparkPeople in 2014 and lost almost 40 pounds in six months. She was proud of herself, had more energy and her clothes were too big. But the celebration was short-lived as the weight started to creep back on. "I got lazy," Nola recalls. "I stopped doing the things I did to lose the weight to begin with. I stopped tracking my food, was eating out too often and fell back into old habits. It took two years for the weight to return, but eventually I regained almost 30 of the 40 pounds I'd lost. I was ashamed and disheartened."

Nola never gave up on SparkPeople, though, and started reading motivational blogs and success stories to find the inspiration to begin again. She developed a new style of eating and utilized the tools offered by SparkPeople Premium to eventually reach her goal weight of 120 pounds, a 50-pound loss. Nola's SparkPage photo gallery shows her amazing progress. "I'm now in maintenance," Nola proudly declares.

Nola's 4 Tips for Weight Loss Success

Nola has plenty of advice that helped her lose the weight and successfully transition into lifelong maintenance.
  1. If you don't lose every week, don't fret. Take your measurements and know that changes are happening even if the scale isn't moving. "I kept my journey visible through pictures, both 'before' pictures and as I lost. My weight didn't come on overnight and it sure isn't coming off overnight," she says. As with any weight-loss journey, expect peaks and valleys. "If I become disappointed with the scale, I just remember that the scale is not going to dictate my life. I really don't care what the scale says. I only care how my clothes fit!" 
  2. Make lists. Make a list of why you want to lose weight and keep that list where you will see it often. Make another list of the small obtainable goals you can reach daily as you start the journey. For example, set small goals like drinking eight glasses of water, exercising for 10 minutes and tracking the food you eat. "Baby steps, always," Nola reminds herself. Nola makes a daily list of her goals and checks them off as she accomplishes them. At the end of the week, she feels proud of all of the good things she's done.
  3. Become informed about nutrition. "Be aware of the ingredients in the foods you eat," she says. Reading labels is so important these days. "Eat lots of green vegetables. I call it going green! I believe that any diet should require lots of green vegetables like kale, romaine, spinach, avocado, tomatoes, cucumbers... you choose what you like."
  4. Attitude is everything. "Some of the important keys to my success have been consistency (tracking daily), determination (preparing for the ups and downs), daily exercise, wearing a smile and removing anything negative from my life," Nola says. "I am told that I am an inspiration to others, not just on SparkPeople, but outside as well. I love to smile and make others smile. I have been able to empathize with people by putting myself in their shoes for as long as I can remember. How would I feel if that was me? One of my best friends says I motivate and inspire her just being with me. I don't know about that, but I do like to make people feel good about themselves."
After more than four years on SparkPeople, Nola has no intentions of leaving. "I have told everyone who will listen that I absolutely love SparkPeople. There are so many helpful tools, videos, exercises, blogs and articles to utilize—all for free! You just need to take the first step to check out the tools and features available that will set you on a path to lose the weight and also to maintain that weight. I have hundreds of SparkFriends who motivate and inspire me. They always seem to have my back, as I have theirs!"

Nola believes that you can do anything you put your mind to—all it takes is that first step.

How do you maintain your smile when times get tough? Share in the comments below and also congratulate Nola for her amazing success!

Click here to to redeem your SparkPoints
  You will earn 5 SparkPoints


192LBMARILYN 6/4/2021
Thank you for sharing. Your friend is right, you are an inspiration. Report
ALLOSAUR 5/24/2021
What a great blog. I read sharkpeople articles basically everyday. I think they give so much inspiration and motivation. In my case, i found and it helped me a lot! I lost weight and my figure changed to better, hope it will help others too! Report
NASFKAB 4/27/2021
Thank you Report
BRONXGIRL5 4/20/2021
I am truly inspired by Nola's story and others.
Kudos to all of you !!!!! today is my first day wish me luck :) Report
CAMSEDGE1 4/10/2021
Your story strikes home. I have an active life on a small farm which I run and maintain on my own. As I gained weight usually secondary to focusing on taking care of everyone and everything else, I got more painful and down and gained more but I still struggled to keep everything running smoothly. I can not bear the thought of being a burden on the people that matter most to me. Since I am alone I make all business decisions and this includes health insurance. In reading the expanded contracts on what I chose I realized that the insurance company had an exclusionary weight for the supplemental coverage. This is the first time I had seen this and it hit home. I was 3 lbs away from that exclusionary weight. I focused.
I am ecstatic to say that thus far 9 lbs are gone since applying myself...3 since Spark People, which I thankfully started again.
Your blog is inspiring and motivates me as I know this is an ongoing process and the reward is the beautiful life I love. Report
I love this story It motivates me to keep going. I've been exercising and changing my eating habits like stop drinking pop and cut down on sugar and salt. Report
BALLERINA921 1/23/2021
i have lost 65 pounds and feel alot better. Report
CECELW 1/15/2021
wow! That is fantastic!! Congratulations! Report
EEJAA70 12/2/2020
What an inspiration! These are such practical ideas. Report
RAJSHRIB 10/10/2020
Thank you for sharing Nola's story, Jen. Reading success stories inspires me to work on my health and the lack of it. Congratulations Nola for doing what you wanted to do. Report
DARCY-B 9/30/2020
GREAT WORK NOLA!! Thank you for sharing some of your journey! Report
DEE797 9/23/2020
Thanks for sharing your story with us. Congrats on your success!! Report
ALLYLIZZY 9/20/2020
Congratulations! Thanks for sharing. Report
Great resource. Report
ROCKRS 8/18/2020
thanks Report
LGRIF22 8/14/2020
I've enjoyed reading about your journey. I agree that a good attitude is one of the most important things we can have..and do for ourselves. Consistency is one of my problems. It's easy to be tempted by unhealthy foods. But as they say.."You're never fully dressed without a smile". The smile brightens others as ourselves!
SMJTELLER 7/2/2020
Messages I need to hear repeatedly: small steps, see beyond the scale, smile, be consistent. Thank you for sharing your journey. Report
Congrats Nola! I know what you mean about getting lazy and not tracking! Weight creeped on me too! This has to be a lifetime commitment though! Good job!! Report
i liked the part you said, "I removed negative things from my life.''

Thanks, thanks! Report
Great Blog! Thanks for sharing this one!!!!! Report
way to go and thank you for this i needed it today Report
Thank you for sharing your story, Nola. This is a lifelong programme, with its ups and downs, but we are winners for being here. Report
Congratulations Nola. Don't forget...this is for life! Keep your maintenance going strong! Report
congratulations on your weight loss and thank you for sharing your success story with us. you are an inspiration. Report
Good story and am glad for her, I wish there was more detail on her specific weight loss.. "developed a new style of eating" was very vague. "used the tools in Sparkpeople premium " another vague topic if you do not have Premium. Congrats to Nora. Hope I will have a story like her outcome.
My smile is found in the exercises that I love to do.. Ice skating, gardening, walking, dancing and cooking,. just to keep moving and not sitting too long is good for me. Report
Congratulations!!! Report
Congratulations! I need to work on smiling more and to remember your 4 tips. Thank you Nola! Report
Great inspirational story! Report
CONGRATS Nola!! I've seen you on the 5% Challenge and I know gal you got this together!! Like you, I am also sticking around!! Why? Same reason,,, I do NOT wish to gain it back!!

Plus when others hear of our success it gives them hope as it did us when we started. CONGRATS! Report
Thank you for telling your story. It's very inspirational! Report
Nola, you are an inspiration to me. Way to go! Report

great Job! Report
thanks for sharing and nice job on weight loss and blog Report
Congrats! Report
Congrats Nola! Being happy is a choice you make every morning. Therefore smiling is easy when you decide to be happy Report
Thanks for sharing your inspirational story!!! Report
Good job sister keep sparkling Report
Thank you. Very inspirational! Report
Congratulations Nola your an awesome inspiration. I can't wait to see how that feels when it's just about maintaining, but like you said i'm starting out with baby steps. Thank you for sharing your story it was a real encouragement to me this morning. Report
Good Job!Thank you for your motivational story. I needed it today. Report
Way to go! Thank you for sharing your story. Report
Congratulations - thanks for sharing! Report
Congratulations on all you have accomplished! Thanks for sharing the great tips. Report
Congratulations Nola. Report
Great job! ConGrats! Report
Excellent Report
Thanks for sharing Report
We're all so proud of you, Nola! Report
You're awesome, Nola! Report
WooHoo, Nola!! Congrats!! I see you around the 5% Challenge.

Congrats!! WTG!!! Report